The scope of the inquiry should extend beyond Catholic Church

  • Chip Le Grand
  • The Australian
  • November 13, 201212:00AM

A MELBOURNE lawyer representing more than 200 people allegedly subjected to abuse in Salvation Army boys homes has welcomed the royal commission into child sex abuse announced by the Gillard government as essential to bringing perpetrators to justice.

Angela Sdrinis, who for 20 years has pursued pedophiles in the Catholic Church, Uniting Church, Salvation Army and other religious organisations on behalf of victims, said while the focus of the inquiry would rightly be on abuse within the Catholic Church, “there is absolutely a need for what the Salvation Army did _ and didn’t do _ to be investigated”.

“I do believe other churches and religious organisations need to be put under the spotlight and that a royal commission would have to be national and cover other organisations, such as the Salvation Army and the Uniting Church, which have so far flown under the radar because of the emphasis on the Catholic Church,” Ms Sdrinis said.

The Salvation Army two years ago formally apologised to victims of abuse in its care and established a system of compensation. Two of the worst institutions for abuse in Victoria were run by the Salvation Army in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs: the Bayswater Boys Homes, which closed in 1986, and the Box Hill Boys Home, which closed in 1994.

In a submission to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and non-government organisations, Ms Sdrinis said her law firm, Ryan Carlisle Thomas, had been contacted by more than 100 people who claim to have been sexually or physically abused at the Box Hill home and 137 who said they were abused at the Bayswater home.

The law firm’s submission identified a network of five “serial abusers” at Box Hill, only one of whom has been convicted. John Maria Beyer, a volunteer at the Bayswater home, was in 2008 jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to 31 counts of sexual assault between 1973 and 1985.

The submission also detailed allegations of abuse at institutions run by the Catholic, Uniting and Anglican churches and proposed a series of law reforms to remove barriers to victims seeking justice.,22049,24354593-5001028,00.html

Crown ‘defective’ in pedophile case

Article from: AAP

By Daniel Fogarty

September 16, 2008 01:41pm

A JUDGE has slammed a “defective” prosecution summary of a pedophile’s offending, saying it did not give him enough information to pass sentence.

Victorian County Court judge Duncan Allen was today due to sentence John Maria Beyer, 66, who abused 12 victims over a 12-year period, but said he could not proceed because it would be overturned in an appeal court.

In their summary, prosecutors alleged Beyer abused the victims in various Victorian locations including his home, his car and a seaside holiday caravan between 1973 and 1985.

Beyer was a volunteer at a home for underprivileged boys, many of his victims were wards of the state.

He often invited the boys to stay at his home and would abuse them in the shower.

On one occasion he performed oral sex on a boy in front of other children.

He targeted another victim in his car at a drive-in.

Beyer pleaded guilty to 31 charges, including counts of unlawful and indecent assault of a male person, gross indecency, indecent assault of a female, indecent assault, sexual penetration of a child and attempted buggery.

Judge Allen said it was clear the offending was “gross and foul,” but the summary was too broad for him to pass sentence.

He said the summary lacked details of actual incidents and frequently used the term “on occasions”.

“The Crown opening is significantly defective,” Judge Allen said.

“All I am saying is that I need to sentence on actual factual information otherwise the whole process lacks integrity and will be overturned on appeal.”

Judge Allen said a recent appeal court judgement called for more detail in summaries of sexual offence cases.

He ordered the prosecution go back to victims and seek more information so it could produce a more detailed summary of the case.

Judge Allen adjourned the matter for a further pre-sentence hearing next Tuesday.


Man jailed for two years over sex abuse

The Age – 11 Jul, 1997 – Page 2

Victoria Gurvich.

A man was sentenced to two years’ jail yesterday on charges of sexually abusing three boys.

Judge Alan Dixon, in the County Court, said John Maria Beyer, 55, unemployed, of Gordon Avenue, Montrose, was unlikely to reoffend, and would be eligible for parole after 12 months.

Beyer had pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault, one of an indecent act with a child and two of taking part in an act of sexual penetration with a child between 10 and 16.

The judge said the offences occurred between 1986 and 1992. The boys were nine and 14 at the time of the first offence. One was 11 at the time he was indecently assaulted.

The victims were shamed and bewildered, the judge said, and one, who was subjected to sexual penetration twice, had said in a victim impact statement that the actions had cast a shadow on his manhood. Another had said in his victim impact statement that he still felt ashamed and embarrassed and had tried to put it out of his mind but could not.

Judge Dixon said the courts must make it clear that people who interfered sexually with children would almost certainly go to jail.


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